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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)

TITLE: Uncle Winston Entertains
By Betty Castleberry


I shoved a pillow over my head hoping the persistent caller would give up. Finally, I spit the cotton out of my mouth and answered. “Hullo?”

“Gina, dear, could you come over and help me clean?”

“Uncle Winston, it’s four in the morning.”

“Is it dear?” Uncle Winston was a bachelor and never cared much about his house, so I was surprised at the request. ”I’ve met a lovely lady at church and want to have her over for lunch.”

“Okay, but give me awhile.” Then I called my sister Gloria and put a guilt trip on her. “He’s your uncle, too. Come and help.”

She argued that he called me and not her, but I reminded her that Uncle Winston could probably only remember one phone number.

Gloria sighed. “I’ll meet you at his house.”

Uncle Winston greeted us at the door, wearing a faded polyester suit. Half of his moustache was missing.

I kissed his cheek. “Did we interrupt your shaving?”

“Oh no. I finished hours ago.” Gloria rolled her eyes. I gave her my Big Sister scowl as
Uncle Winston ushered us in. His living room was cluttered with newspapers and mail, along with a lot of other things.

Gloria started picking up, and I got out the vacuum. It didn’t seem to have much suction, and there was a peculiar odor coming from it. I flipped the switch a couple of times, but it still wouldn’t work properly. “Uncle Winston, does the bag need changing?”

“No, dear. There’s a salami in the hose.”


“Yes, you see, I dropped it and ...”

“Never mind. Why don’t you see if you can get it out?”

“All right.” He shuffled out of the room and reappeared with a toilet plunger and a piece of bread. I prayed he wasn’t going to tell me what his intentions were.

A few minutes later, he met me in the hall. “What are we having for lunch? Martha will be here soon.”

“Lunch? She’s coming today?”

“Yes dear, of course.”

“You didn’t tell me.”

“Perhaps you forgot.” One of us did forget, but it wasn’t me.

He had his back to Gloria. She rolled her eyes again.

“I’d like to give Martha a gift. What do you think of this?”

He handed me a denture cup. “You want to give her a denture cup?”

“No, the gift is inside. I thought the denture cup would make a nice gift box. A red bow would be pretty on it, don’t you think? I rinsed it real well this morning.”

I very gingerly opened the cup and found a discount coupon for panty hose. “I don’t know, Uncle Winston, it doesn’t seem appropriate to me.”

“I won’t use it, and it would save her money. You young people don’t understand what it’s like living on a fixed income.”

“If you want to give her a gift, why don’t you pick some of your roses for her?”

“Okay, but they won’t save her any money.”

At some point, he had put on a ragged green smoking jacket. “That’s quite a jacket you’re wearing.”

“I know ladies like a gentleman to look sophisticated.” He held a pipe up for my approval.

“I’ve never seen you smoke.”

“Oh, I don’t. I found this at the coffee shop. It was just lying on the table. Finders keepers, you know.” He stuck the end of the pipe in his mouth.

I was tempted to tell him that it wasn’t sanitary, but after looking around his living room, decided that wasn’t an issue. Instead, I steered him toward the kitchen.

“Let’s go see what we can make for lunch.”

Gloria and I rummaged through the refrigerator. We found pickles, orange juice, and a pair of boxer shorts.

I sent Gloria to the delicatessen while I straightened the kitchen. By the time she returned, it was time to dish up the food.

Uncle Winston was singing “Stardust” in his shaky baritone when the doorbell rang.
He went to answer it, and we heard him offer a cheery greeting. A little bird-like voice answered him. He came into the kitchen with a tiny lady by his side. “Girls, this is Martha.”

Martha was wearing a blue plaid jumper with orange knee socks. A quirky little beaded hat sat on her head. She had shaven off her eyebrows and painted one back on. Just one.

I smiled. She and Uncle Winston were going to get along very well.

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This article has been read 1485 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/19/07
Oh joy! This is great. The part is that Uncle Winston is perfectly fine, and so is Martha. Wonderful.
terri tiffany04/19/07
Love the description his friend at the end:) Good dialogue.
Marilee Alvey04/19/07
Loved it.....AND AM LIVING IT! Just got back from the neurologist's with mom-in-law. This was an excellent, funny story. I thought of writing up my relative's foibles, but I thought it too tragic. However, you have given it a little different spin and I found it 100% delightful! Great job!
Tabiatha Tallent04/19/07
Loved it, especially when we find out that he has such a special "match". LOL Great job.
James Wood04/20/07
You should have reconsidered the panty hose coupon upon clapping eyes on her. Very funny and intelligent, but the last sentance sort of bludgeons the point a little. I like the boxer shorts in the fridge. It sums up his condition rather effectively.
Julie Arduini04/20/07
Uncle Winston definitely entertained me. This was a delightful read, and how nice for the girls to sacrifice their time and help him, even when after all he didn't need it!
Mo 04/20/07
I liked the ending!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/21/07
I loved Uncle Winston. You did a great job with description.
Sheri Gordon04/21/07
This is cute, but sort of sad in a way. Very well written, and you seemed to capture too many of our "uncles" very effectively.
Rita Garcia04/23/07
You tell a story so well!! A fun and delightful story!
Jan Ackerson 04/23/07
I didn't quite know how to feel about this...it's wonderfully written, and very amusing, but I felt so sad for Uncle Winston. It was unclear, I guess, whether he had Alzheimer's or was just quirky and eccentric. Maybe with just that clarification? Lots of really great moments here, and a fantastic voice.
Val Clark04/24/07
Certainly got me smiling! The voice, relationships between the sisters and the characterisation of Uncle Winston worked to make this an entertaining piece.
Marc Smith04/24/07
Very cute article! I chuckled several times. Especially with the boxers in the fridge. Who knew you weren't supposed to do that!
Betty Castleberry04/24/07
Author clarification:
Uncle Winston is a quirky little man with a slight oxygen flow above the shoulders problem. (Think Bernice from "Designing Women.") He is not seriously ill.
I adore the elderly, and feel they are often overlooked in our society. They have so much to offer. I wanted to portray Uncle Winston as a loveable elderly gentleman very much enjoying life, and is possibly even starting a new romance.
I hope this clears up any questions the reader may have.
Sandra Petersen 04/24/07
The title was perfect! Uncle Winston was a little eccentric, wasn't he? Very smooth and natural dialogue.

I think my favorite part of this was the salami in the vacuum cleaner hose.

I loved the twist at the end, where we find out that his "dinner date" seemed to be just as eccentric as Uncle Winston. Good job!
Sharlyn Guthrie04/24/07
I especially liked the one eyebrow feature the Winston and Martha shared. What a fun story!
Shari Armstrong 04/25/07
Uncle Winston's not the only one to entertain. Toooo funny!
Jacquelyn Horne04/25/07
This is so funny! I can just see the sister's reactions. And I can feel the mirth being held back by the narrator.
Myrna Noyes04/25/07
How cute! Loved the ending! Truly a perfect match! :D
Cheri Hardaway 04/25/07
So many things hit home here! Very comical and sweet. I was glad for the clarification about Uncle Winston's condition.

Interestingly enough, my husband's name is Winston, Winston Wayne; we call him Wayne. And my little sister always says to me things like, "Your father..."

A fun read. Thanks, Cheri
Donna Powers 04/25/07
Oh, this was so enjoyable! I loved the description, and your wonderful words made it easy to visualize. Thanks so much for sharing it.
T. F. Chezum04/26/07
Very, very good ... great story.
Clyde Blakely05/21/07
Would you girls be available to come over and clean my house tomorrow? My cats and I are having a tea party this afternoon and they're bringing the snacks. Thank you much.

Such lovely ladies, aren't they Boots?